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Sunday, 20 January 2013

Book Review: Hedge Witchcraft, by Harmonia Saille

Hedge Witchcraft” is written by Harmonia Saille, and published by Moon Books as part of their Pagan Portals series.

The description reads:
“This book will guide readers to read more about hedge witchcraft as a pathway, or are already following such a path and wish to progress. It only has a little about hedge riding as this book has too small a scope to include it. Please read the accompanying book in the Pagan Portal series, Hedge Riding.”

This is a really nice little book about traditional British witchcraft. It ties all the information together with personal accounts from the author which heavily adds to the readability of this book. I enjoyed the section about tree lore, and liked the healthy does of folklore that was included in it. I also really liked the section on "Spirit of Place". This is a topic woefully overlooked in lots of similar books, and Harmonia does a fantastic job of eloquently, but unpretentiously, describing this. 

However, I can’t help but feel quite disappointed with this book, simply because it isn't specifically about Hedge Witchcraft. As the description indicated, it made little mention of hedge riding, referring you to another book by the same author. Given that neither book is hugely long I don't see why they weren't integrated, especially given the importance of hedge riding to this path. Although it made the very truthful claim that all hedge witches will follow a slightly different path, it didn’t highlight the key points that unite them. 

If you are after a short guide to traditionally based witchcraft then this is a really interesting little read, it will provide you with a general overview of  pagan festivals, and examples of how they are practiced. It also goes into elemental correspondences, and how these tie the everyday world to the magical one. But, if you have a decent background knowledge of general traditional witchcraft and modern pagan spirituality, then you may be left feeling a let down by this title.

The book market really needs some good titles about true hedge witchcraft, and if can be in a small, easy to read format like this, then so much the better. Unfortunately I don’t think this book does that. It will however keep it’s place on my bookshelf, due to the traditional folklore facts, interesting personal antidotes, and the style of writing, with turns this from a reference book, to an enjoyable quick read.

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